How to Pick the Right Interior Design Course La Fayette Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near La Fayette AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you obtain the proper training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's very important that you carry out the proper research in order to analyze and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your ultimate choice. But just where do you begin? A number of potential students will kick off their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important issues when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be considered as well. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are available.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The principal difference between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in La Fayette AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers frequently focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, La Fayette AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Training Programs
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training necessary to start your new profession in La Fayette AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are available at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Schools
For those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their La Fayette AL homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Studying online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your La Fayette AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior design college and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many La Fayette AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore besides providing an excellent education, the La Fayette AL school you select should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a large network of La Fayette AL business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the La Fayette AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the La Fayette AL programs you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your La Fayette home, visit the school and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design program you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near La Fayette AL, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Best La Fayette Interior Design School
Choosing the right interior designer program is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging task no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are several points to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in La Fayette AL.